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WOMEN'S WORLD CUP SETS DRAW; IS IT READY FOR PRIME TIME?
Published February 16, 1999
The Women's World Cup (WWC) held its draw during halftime of Saturday night's match between the U.S. women team and FIFA's World All-Stars -- won 2-1 by the World All- Stars -- and played in front of 15,367 at Spartan Stadium in San Jose. The draw gave the U.S. team a "relatively easy route to the finals" of this summer's event, as it will play Denmark, Nigeria and North Korea in the first group. The "earliest" the U.S. team would play Norway or China -- the world's "two other dominant teams" -- would be the July 10 final at the Rose Bowl (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 2/15). During the draw, organizers switched the assignment of China, because they wanted the team to play its opener in the S.F. Bay Area, "which has a large Asian community" (AP, 2/15). In San Jose, Ann Killion wrote that while the U.S. team has "been a draw all over" the U.S., "we still don't know what kind of interest will be forthcoming" for non-U.S. teams. So far, 215,000 tickets have been sold, with another 500,000 needed for a sellout (MERCURY NEWS, 2/15). In DC, Jack Kent Cooke Stadium Venue Dir Heather Quinn said that a quarterfinal doubleheader featuring the U.S. team "could attract" between 40,000-50,000. WWC President Marla Messing estimated that around 25,000 tickets have been sold for the Washington matches (WASHINGTON POST, 2/15). TRECKER STATES ALL NOT WELL WITH WWC: On ESPN.com, Jamie Trecker writes that this weekend's WWC kickoff event "did little" to allay his "fears that this event may not perform quite as planned." While the reports of 215,000 tickets sold could be "inflated," Trecker adds that TV "remains a sticking point," as "fewer than a dozen" of the 32 games will be seen on ABC or ESPN, while the rest are on ESPN2, as "it seems that the network televising these games has a far more subdued view of how this tournament will be received." In addition, this weekend was "also ultimately disappointing in terms of media turnout" (ESPN.com, 2/16).